Former England international Scott Parker has retired from football at the age of 36, and the midfielder has left the beautiful game with something of a rare achievement: liked and respected by every single set of fans that he played in front of.
Perhaps it was Parker’s work ethic, or his likeable demeanour. But to play for West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, and somehow not be deemed public enemy No.1, the former Football Writers’ Player of the Year winner must’ve been doing something right.
Parker was always just short of being what Chelsea and Tottenham needed, two clubs going for the game’s bigger achievements, couldn’t really have a centre-midfielder lacking so obviously in creative qualities.
But for the likes of West Ham and Newcastle United, he was the perfect talisman, who would lead by example.
Scott Parker’s retirement speech pretty much ticked all the cliché comments, but for once, it felt like sincere and genuine comments. And that is why Parker endeared himself to so many; he was one of us.
One of us that had a haircut like an extra in Saving Private Ryan, but still one of us nonetheless.
“The decision to retire has not been an easy one for me but having thought long and hard over it, and having discussed it with those closest to me, I believe that now is the right time to move on to the next chapter in my life and career.
“When I started my career at Charlton Athletic all those years ago I could only have dreamt at that time just what was to follow over the next two decades. I feel incredibly honoured and proud to have enjoyed the career that I have and I’ve loved every moment of it.
“I have enjoyed so many incredible moments during my career. From making my first team debut at Charlton, to playing regularly in the Premier League, playing in the Champions League to then playing in a major tournament for England, as well as ultimately fulfilling a lifelong dream by captaining my country. There are just too many highlights to mention.
“I would like to thank everyone at Charlton Athletic, Norwich City, Chelsea, Newcastle United, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham for the unbelievable support that I’ve been shown throughout my time at each and every one of the club’s I’ve been proud to represent.
“Thank you to the fans of all of the clubs that I’ve been lucky enough to play for. Your support has meant everything to me and you’ve supported me throughout all of the ups and downs during my career. I hope I was able to repay the faith shown in me by my commitment and performances on the pitch.
“I would like to thank all of my teammates over the course of my career as well as the coaches and managers that I’ve played under. I’ve learnt a huge amount from everyone that I’ve worked with that I have no doubt will hugely benefit me in my next career chapter.
“Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank my family for all of their unconditional love and support throughout. My wife Carly, and all of her family, and our sons Frankie, Murphy, Sonny and Rafa have been there for me through everything and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Thank you too to my Mum and Dad, who I hope I’ve made proud. Without them all nothing would have been possible.
“When I was a boy I dreamt of becoming a professional football player and I feel very honoured to have accomplished my dream. I have always tried to set high standards on and off the pitch. I hope most of all throughout my career I have been a good role model not only to my sons but also to all of my teammates who played with me as well as all those who supported me.
“I’m now looking forward to the next chapter of my life and career and hope to make an announcement soon with regards to what that will be.”
Happy retirement Scott! Thanks for the memories 🙌 pic.twitter.com/BCBHWjKGyG
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) June 28, 2017